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I owe the Xuuxu my life but no gratitude. Once they flushed us from our valley and stood us naked, side by side in the long grass under the sickle moon, lowlands clansmen that the colonists favored Read the rest of this entry »

He’s not always easy to see. I can be talking to him in my room on a rainy afternoon with the radio playing and sharing a blueberry pie, and my dad will open the bedroom door and Deuce’ll be gone and it looks like I’m eating a pie by myself and talking to the radio. Read the rest of this entry »

I picked it up on a minor island, the one with the grimy harborfront, I think, and the spine of useless mountains like a broken back along its northern coast as if it had been stepped on. Read the rest of this entry »

My dear wife, the gentlemen who detain me do not understand why you neglect to send what they ask for my release. Try to appreciate that when they saw us get out of your patron’s car at the embassy, they took us to be valuable. Read the rest of this entry »

Where we live, the troopers are always on call, even if their kids are in the patrol car with them on their way to the shoe store. I’m twenty minutes out, is all Mom said to the dispatcher, but I could tell from the road we took she wouldn’t be dropping me off. Read the rest of this entry »

—Nevertheless you did kill him?
—I was present at his death.
—Present with a knife.
—Mine was not the only hand on that knife.
Read the rest of this entry »

More crosstown than up or down, they blew through the city like leaves. At the river, they skidded into a headwind off the water and eddied through islands of trash that fronted the docks, swirling beneath the bridge they had never crossed, and went with the flow until one of them snagged on something. Read the rest of this entry »

As far as I’m concerned, no teacher goes into a classroom without concealed weapons. I know I never have. Chalk is a bullet in the right hands. Students have no idea what I’m up to or whether what I’m teaching them is algebra or how to live. Read the rest of this entry »

If tomorrow they locked us all in jail, how many of us could testify our way out? I’ve been looking at mug shot books all morning and nobody in this whole jury of peers collection looks not guilty. I wonder, if they gave me the book of women, would I find innocence there? Read the rest of this entry »

This godforsaken gravel shoulder is as good a place—as bad a place—as any to have made your peace with life and dying. Still, you probably objected. Not here, you said, by which you meant, Not yet. Read the rest of this entry »

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299-WORD NOVELS

Character, conflict, emotional impact. And sentences! Everything you want in a novel, without one extra syllable.

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The pen name David B Dale honors my parents Beatrice and Dale. David+B+Dale = davidbdale

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